The fear that gripped markets on Monday appears to have washed away, and Wall Street is preparing for another strong day of trading, according to the futures market. A liquidity crunch in China was a short-term fear on Monday, and now China's interest rates have fallen for four straight days, easing those fears.
Major European stock indexes have risen between 1% and 2.5%, boosted by China's falling interest rates and a confident German consumer. In June, a survey of German consumers swung back to positive territory, indicating that consumers expect the economy to improve in coming months. Incomes are also expected to rise, and German consumers, like those in the U.S., are still willing to spend at growing rates because of their economic bullishness.
Add all of this up and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) and S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) are primed to rise 0.43% and 0.54%, respectively, in early trading -- at least that's what it looks like ahead of some earnings releases.
General Mills (NYSE: GIS ) just reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that matched Wall Street's expectations. Revenue rose 8% in the quarter to $4.4 billion on an 11% volume increase, and earnings of $0.53 were in line with analyst estimates. For the full year, earnings of $2.69 per share were at the high end of the company's expectations. U.S. growth was pretty anemic, coming in at just 1% for the full year. But General Mills has been able to grow 24% internationally in fiscal 2013, and that has helped drive results.
Monsanto (NYSE: MON ) is also set to release earnings this morning, although the results aren't out as I write. Analysts expect earnings of $1.61 per share for the fiscal third quarter, and it will be interesting to see how the agriculture company's revenue and profit look considering the bad weather throughout the country. Wet weather in the Midwest and Southeast has pushed back and, in some cases, halted the planting season, and other companies are already feeling the pain.
We're just more than a week away from earnings season, and it's time to turn our focus back to companies' fundamentals, rather than the daily news cycle.
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